Saving For Your Next Disney Vacation By Using Your Rakuten Check!

Save MONEY towards your future Walt Disney World Vacation by using Rakuten to earn cash back for all your online shopping and purchase discounted Disney Gift Cards

Here’s How:

How exciting is it when your quarterly Rakuten check arrives from all of your daily online shopping? As soon as I get mine, I get online to see where I can find the best discount on getting a DISNEY GIFT CARD to put towards my future Walt Disney World Vacation! If you don’t already know, you can book your Walt Disney World Vacation around a year in advance and make payments as often you can, to have the vacation PAID OFF before you even arrive! Or if you need more time to save up and pay for a Disney World Vacation start stocking up on Disney Gift Cards – they NEVER expire.

Click here to sign up with Rakuten to start earning money while shopping!

Money * Funds * Cash * Coins * Bucks * Bills…. it all means the same thing and has been tight for most people lately, so every cent saved counts and it can go a long way. It is never a good idea to go into debt over a vacation so the best thing to do is save for it and have it paid off before it even starts.

I save money by ordering my Disney Gift Cards online (through Rakuten of course) through either Target or BJ’s. (Sam’s Club and Costco have around the same member pricing as BJ’s.) However, pricing is not set in stone and is subject to change at any time.

Disney Gift Cards can be used for MORE than your next Disney Vacation in Florida but also California, and also online at Shop Disney, any Disney Stores located near you, and through most stores and restaurants located through the Disney Parks, Disney Resorts and at Disney Springs!

Using your gift card online at Shop Disney? Shop through Rakuten and get cash back for your next gift card!

With this Rakuten check (as I usually do) I went on BJ’s website to check pricing on a $100 Disney Gift Card…. but then I thought, “Hmmm, well the Target Red Card lets you save 5% when purchasing by using your Red Card – why not check that out?!“…. low and behold Target was cheaper by using my Red Card! As soon as the charge is posted I will pay the card off with the money from my Rakuten check.

HOT TIP: Learn how Disney Visa can help save you MONEY

If you do not have a Target Red Card and you DO have a DISNEY CHASE VISA take these steps to earn the most amount of money:

  • First go through Rakuten and then sign into your BJ’s account. Add preferred Disney Gift Card to cart. (Sometimes Rakuten does not offer cash back at BJ’s lately so you may want to look into a wholesale club that it does offer cash back through Rakuten)
  • Order your discounted Disney Gift Card ( a lesser cost than the true value of the card) by using your Disney Visa
  • Earn Reward Bucks TO BE USED at Disney on your vacation or while saving for your vacation from your Disney Visa. Use the Disney Visa while on vacation to start earning reward bucks for your next Disney Vacation. Use your Disney Visa at any authorized Disney Store for a discount on your total bill, as well as at MOST Disney owned restaurants at the parks and in Disney Springs.
  • Pay off your Disney Visa as soon as the total is posted!!!
  • ** Disney Visa allows vacation financing: up to 6 months interest free for your vacation package**

So yes you are buying a $100 Disney Gift Card – worth $100 for only $95.00 through Target or at different pricing through BJ’s. They also sell Disney Gift Cards for $25.00, $50.00, $150.00 and $500.00. The latest $500 Disney Gift Card is available at BJ’s for $479.00 – that is a pretty good deal.

I really enjoy these fun little ways of saving some cash $$ here and there for Disney!

What are some of your ideas and tips for saving money for vacation?

Click here to see an older post about saving for your next Disney World Vacation!

Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer That Won’t Break The Bank

After a year of a world pandemic everyone seems to be hurting financially but this doesn’t mean you can’t do anything with your family! The summer is a great time for the kids to experience nature – being in the great outdoors is so good for the growing brain, not to mention for great mental health.

Inexpensive Family Fun Ideas:

Are you vaccinated or partially vaccinated? If you live in the state of NJ you can get into all state parks in NJ for FREE. Here is the link: https://www.nj.gov/dep/vaxandvisit/ Just make sure you travel with your vaccination card and drivers license.

  • Pack lunches and explore the state parks in your area – especially if you have any near the beach! Some have lakes and some have the ocean! My favorite State Park in NJ is Island Beach by Seaside!
  • High Point State Park has plenty of picnic tables as well as a fantastic lake with beach.

DOWNLOAD THE ALL TRAILS APP

  • Research a “Waterfront Park” in your area for a beautiful water view for a family picnic and walk
  • Hiking
  • Geocaching

REASEARCH YOUR LOCAL ARBORETUMS AND BOTANICALS GARDEN

  • Some have a picnic table for enjoying the weather while enjoying an inexpensive lunch with your family.
  • Right now the Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne, NJ has sculptures along the path!

ONCE A WEEK, TRAVEL TO AN ICE CREAM PALOR/ DAIRY CREAMERY THAT YOU HAVE NEVER VISITED BEFORE!

  • Because who doesn’t like ice cream???!

RESEARCH AND TRAVEL TO DIFFERENT BOOK SHOPS AND COMIC BOOK SHOPS

How are you spending time with your family this summer? I would love to hear your ideas!

OGA’S CANTINA: HOT TIP

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VISIT OGA’S CANTINA AT HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS IN WALT DISNEY WORLD!

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!

We learned the hard way that when you make a reservation for Oga’s Cantina at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Galaxy’s Edge located in Orlando, Florida you might just have to STAND for your drink! YEP – YOU MIGHT JUST HAVE TO STAND. When you make your reservations try calling Disney to let them know you would prefer a table, but you still might not get a table. It is very much a bar.

When you’re legs are sore and tired after walking so many steps while having a fabulous day at the park you might really be looking forward to sitting at this fully-immersive Star Wars Attraction.

While this is super neat to experience also know that you will need to pay for your drinks, they prefer you to keep your visit to 45 minutes and there is not much for kids. My husband and I really enjoyed our drinks but our kids were slightly underwhelmed and annoyed we didn’t have a table to sit and relax with not much available on the menu for them.

DISCLAIMER: I am not in any way responsible for anything negative that may happen on your vacation – you may not even get a table! I am just informing everyone that you may just have to stand.

HOWEVER, we do recommend this experience to any Star Wars fans out there. DJ R3X plays fantastic music, the bar is hopping and we made fantastic memories!

Need to convince a loved one to visit Walt Disney World?! Click here to read on for help!

Which Walt Disney World Resort I recommend for Summer 2021

Thinking of heading to Walt Disney World in the next few months? This is the hotel I recommend for Summer 2021.

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for anything that could happen or go wrong on your vacation; these are just my opinions after years and years of vacationing at Walt Disney World.

While we are still coming out of the pandemic and Disney World is still slowly opening up resorts, attractions and dining locations, I would suggest the best possible hotel to stay at currently would be (assuming you’re a party of no bigger than 4):

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

EVERYTHING IS CONDENSED INTO ONE BUILDING

Florida can be terribly hot and humid and there is nothing like getting off a Disney bus, all hot and sweaty from a super fantastic day at the parks and walking into ONE wonderfully airconditioned building providing not just your cool room, but gift shop, quick service and restaurants all inside. It is so super convenient to have all of this inside the same building for extra AC and to avoid the constant rain showers that Summer 2021 is bringing us! Not to mention the lobby is stunning and the rooms are gorgeous!

BOAT TO MAGIC KINGDOM

Having the easy 10 minute boat ride to and from Magic Kingdom really does make your vacation feel extra magical!

FIREWORKS VIEWS FROM SOME LOCATIONS AT THE RESORT

Summer 2019 was the first time we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and we were surprised with a beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom Castle as well as fireworks from our balcony! Now that the fireworks are back you are sure to enjoy!

WITH MANY DINING LOCATIONS CURRENTLY CLOSED, MORE DINING OPTIONS AVAILABLE

Whispering Canyon Café has been open which is a delicious table-service restaurant if you need a change from quick service. Wilderness Lodge also has Geyser Point Bar and Grill which is an outdoor, water-view restaurant which is another great option to have. You can’t go wrong at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

AS A DISNEY WORLD DELUXE HOTEL ACCOMODATION, THE RATES AREN’T AWFUL AND WORTH IT

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge falls into the deluxe hotel categories because of it’s many amenities and for being one of the Magic Kingdom Resorts, but it isn’t nearly priced as high as the Contemporary, Grand Floridian or especially right now the Polynesian – if you ask for a standard view room. It is one of more affordable deluxe accommodations with many comforting habituations. Also this deluxe resort offers a slide at the main pool and there is a splash pad for the younger kids which gives you a little more to do at the resort.

Planning a summer vacation? Where are you headed this summer?! I would love to hear your plans and thoughts!

Need assistance convincing a loved one to try Disney World?! CLICK HERE!

Ice Cream Hopping Tri-State Area

Summer can be so amazing with your kids off from school but aren’t we always looking for ideas to keep them busy!? (and off of video games)

Riverside Creamery 5 Water St. Port Jervis, New York

We have decided to try out as many ice cream shops in the tri-state area that we can, and we will let you know how they are!

The first hit of our journey is the Riverside Creamery in Port Jervis New York. Not only do they have quite the extensive ice cream menu, but they have a delicious lunch/dinner menu as well. Our kids ranging from ages 6 – 13 all loved the pretzel bites appetizer. The menu options for ice cream are endless and so delicious as well.

Not only do you get great food in this old fashioned, 50’s style ice cream parlor, you get a view of the Delaware River. You might see some visitors kayaking down the Delaware as you delight in some tasty treats. Nearby the Riverside Creamery are swimming beaches in Milford PA – as well as a very touristy area with lots of shops, horseback riding and dining. You also are close to some beautiful hikes in Dingman’s Ferry with breath-taking waterfalls and spectacular views. You have the option to go rafting on the Delaware as well! Many adventures available!

Here are some pictures of their intense menu of countless ice cream options:

5 Pros and Cons of Staying in a Cabin at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Camprground

PROS

CABINS SLEEP 6 PEOPLE

Would I stay in a Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabin with 6 adults, no but a family of 4 – 5 absolutely! There is a bedroom with 1 queen size bed and a bunk bed that sleeps 2. Then the living room has a pull out couch that sleeps 2. The bathroom is big and spacious, with an eat-in kitchen and eating area directly outside. The kitchen is just about a full-kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, a stove top, convection oven, sink, cabinets stocked with dinnerware, a dishwasher and lots of counter space. The air conditioning in the cabin was amazing – best AC out of all the resorts we have stayed in!!!! Lots of options at the resort like hiking, horseback riding, archery etc.

NO HOTEL HALLWAYS OR ELEVATORS DURING PANDEMIC TIMES

In the cabin you are much more secluded and there is less interaction between you and strangers staying at this resort. The mobile ordering is a breeze and I sure hope it is here to stay since it makes it so easy to order and run down to P&J’s to pick up your food.

YOU GET TO DRIVE AROUND A GOLF CART!

Who doesn’t love driving around a golf cart in a campground?! This resort is so gigantic that if you do not have a golf cart to drive to Disney Transportation to the parks or even to the pool or to P&J’s, you will need to use the internal busing to get there. Golf carts are an extra fee and book up fast but you are allowed to bring your own or rent from elsewhere!

PARKING SPACE AVAILABLE AT THE CABIN

For those who prefer to drive to Disney, how fabulous is it to park your car directly outside of your room for easy unloading and packing back up!

YOU GET TO TAKE THE BOAT TO MAGIC KINGDOM

One of my favorite perks about staying at the Magic Kingdom Resorts is taking the boat as method of transportation for back and forth to Magic Kingdom. We love taking the boat – it is a fun ride in itself and makes it all the more magical!

CONS

NO MORNING WALK FOR COFFEE

If you’re like me and you love your morning walk with your refillable mug to grab some coffee before you hit the parks – you can forget the walk here. It took us about 10 min each way via golf cart.

QUICK SERVICE, GIFT SHOPS SPREAD TOO FAR APART

Usually in a Disney Resort the restaurants, gift shops and quick service are located centrally together in one building, or normally super close – for the most part but not at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. Everything is spread pretty far apart and you will need to drive the golf cart to get to each of these.

NOT TROPICAL / OR OVER-THE-TOP-DISNEY-THEMED

Typically Disney Resorts are very themed – from Tropical, to Polynesian, Victorian style, to Orleans’ style – you name it, you got it. Disney’s Fort Wilderness is a campground so if you want some wild theming you really won’t find it here. We come from North Jersey so it reminded us all of home, instead of being on vacation! LOL The cabin felt a little dark and dreary at times. It was also disappointing that the gift shop hours were shortened due to the pandemic and the restaurant was closed along with the dinner shows that weren’t running during our June 2021 stay.

IT GETS OLD HAVING TO DRIVE THE GOLF CART EVERYWHERE PLUS YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT

Our family has been to Disney World 10 plus times, staying a different resort each time and this unfortunately has made the bottom of the list. This was the first vacation where we had a LOT of rainy weather – where it was thunder storming night after night and we would return to a soaking wet golf cart which was not fun. We started leaving a bathroom towel in there to dry it off when we would return – I’m not sure what other people do – some people have covers. But when we came back wet, cold and tired we just wanted to walk into our building and up to our room. Even at Pop Century you have a minimal 5 minute walk to your room, even if it is outside.

THE COST OF A CABIN IS SIMILAR TO A MODERATE RESORT

All magic comes at a price! The cabin is fantastic but it is not cheap by any means… it is comparable to the cost of a moderate resort and the pricing of the golf cart around $67 per night makes the price go up to like staying at a deluxe resort! We were also not thrilled with having the bunk either – our children are a little older now and as tall as we are so the bunk bed was not really feasible for us – we would have preferred another queen sized bed (aside from the pullout couch).

NEVER BEEN TO DISNEY WORLD?! CLICK HERE TO READ WHY VACATIONING IN DW IS NOT LIKE YOUR TYPICAL THEME PARK EXPERIENCES…. NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!

New Lego Harry Potter Fawke’s, Dumbledore’s Phoenix

Mikey completed this 597 piece Lego in 1.5 hours

Thinking of going to Legoland NY? Click here for some hot tips!

Legoland NY June 2021 HOT TIP

Legoland NY is now open to everyone but by reservations only which you can access online through their website. Legoland NY officially opens to the public I believe June 4th or June 5th.

All but 2 rides are open at Legoland NY!

It is absolutely amazing – *but be sure to pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, a sun umbrella, neck fans. spray bottle and lots of drinking water because there is no shade to be seen and it is hot! Even waiting online for the very popular Ninjago Ride was outside in the blazing sun for about 30 min. Needless to say we were all sunburned and very overheated (since I forgot to pack sunscreen).

Hopefully the long lines will calm down as they iron out their kinks but until they do definitely prepare!

For some pictures and video previews check my Instagram account at FamilyPixieDust429 and check back regularly on my YouTube Channel for a tour at Family Pixie Dust https://youtu.be/N_QAFau-jKw

https://www.youtube.com/user/vbraga429/videos

Disney Igloo Backpack – New Packing Item For Theme Parks

Trying Out a New Disney Igloo Backpack

This year I found a new bag to try – an insulated Disney Igloo “Leftover bag” backpack. It has a front compartment for smaller items which I like. I always wear a Disney Fanny-pack anyway, to my keep my phone and wallet for easy use. I like this bag because it is completely insulated – so I am figuring we will keep our waters and cooling towels in there, instead of a regular backpack. It even has pockets on both sides to hold 2 drinks! I am going to give it a try this coming weekend at Legoland NY!

I decided to add some Disney magic to it and I glued some Disney patches to it – with e6000 glue. E6000 glue seems to be the popular glue everyone is using but the fact that it says it causes cancer made me nervous. So I wore gloves and glued outside. **I took wax paper to place over them and I used full baby wipes to weigh them down while they dried.

  • e6000 glue
  • gloves
  • glue outside
  • put wax paper on top of patches
  • add weight
  • let dry overnight

Link for Disney Igloo from Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3hWqrGr

I do have a lot of Disney backpacks that I use for all trips – even road trips / hiking etc. The backpacks I purchased from Disney World back in 2017 have come in great use – they have several comparments for separating and organizing with outside pockets to hold your drinks. They have been quite sturdy.

I also have a Disney Loungefly as well as a cheaper small backpack purchased at Animal Kingdom – both are small and we cannot fit very much inside. But now that my kids are getting older we do not need to carry quite as much anymore.

What are your favorite bags to travel with??? I love to hear about bags that work well.

Here is my video on how I pack for a night out on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore!

Clothing Essentials for Summer Vacation Travel

Are You Backing Up Your Smart Phone Photos?

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for anything that may happen to your photos, your iPhone or anything associated. These are my opinions and my suggestions on ways to help.

So with the news of being able to reserve a park pass for passholders only for the soft opening of Legoland NY I became really excited this morning! With thoughts of this and summer approaching, it has been a while since I backed up the photos on my iPhone and decided now is the time to save them and clear up my phone’s capacity for even more photos! I am so excited for all the photos to come this summer!! We all know how many photos we can capture while visiting WDW and I automatically get Memory Maker being an Annual Passholder! Follow me on Instagram – familypixiedust429 for our upcoming Legoland and Disney World Adventures and Content! https://www.instagram.com/familypixiedust429/?hl=en

I decided to attack this project this morning in the midst of my daily chores. I need to vacuum every day since getting a black lab/boxer puppy mix. I love her to pieces but the amount of hair is just overwhelming. I try to brush her every day – but it is just ALL over all the time – plus it is so fine it blows around so easily. Not to mention working on the laundry, folding towels, dishes, breakfast for my kids, drop off / pick-up for my younger son who went back to in-person school and his lunch etc – being at home is much harder than being at work! I should be going back to work this fall….

A few years ago I learned a hard lesson not to just save my iPhone photos to my WD External Hard Drive because I was also using it to work inside of Photoshop and I blew its brains out – losing all of my photos along with the work I created. Luckily I had some photos saved to the computer we were using at the time but I knew from then on I needed multiple places for storing my precious photos.

Google Photos

Google Photos easily automatically backs up all of your iPhone photos just by opening the app. I believe the phone needs to stay on and the app opened to save all. I just go into the phone’s settings to Display & Brightness, then change “Auto-Lock” to NEVER. Then you can create albums to organize the photos. It also lets you share as well. Don’t forget to go back in and change the auto-lock back after you are finished. You can also upload any photos saved from your computer to Google Photos as well.

Shutterfly

Although this app is a touch more difficult because it takes much longer to upload the photos – I like to have them in more than one place. To upload to Shutterfly I recommend doing this one night when going to bed. Make sure you are fully connected to the wi-fi. I would again change my iPhone’s Auto-Lock in the settings to never and then proceed into Shutterfly keeping it open. Here you can also create albums as well. This app seems to take several hours, so face your iPhone face down for the evening and let it upload from there. I also like having my pictures printed and mailed through Shutterfly as well.

WD External Hard Drive

This would be where you connect your iPhone and WD Drive to your computer. You would create files inside your WD Drive through your computer, and then access your iPhone photos (also through your computer). You highlight which photos you want to save and drag/drop to the file of your choice. I usually name the files by month and year. The problem I have been having with this method lately is that my computer loses my iPhone, or isn’t reading it correctly or does not obtain all of the photos. If anyone has any suggestions for this by all means please let me know!

Here is a link to a WD Drive on amazon – https://amzn.to/3f3tuLa

Uploading to Facebook is nice because your memories pop up – and you can make your albums viewable to you only, or specified people if you prefer. Instagram is also nice for saving photos as well.

With the thousands of pictures we are taking daily we have to make sure to keep up on saving them! I often wonder what will happen to all of the digital pictures when we are gone! AHH What a thought!

What are some ways you save your photos???

Legoland NY June 2021 HOT TIP

Legoland NY is now open to everyone but by reservations only which you can access online through their website. Legoland NY officially opens to the public I believe June 4th or June 5th.

All but 2 rides are open at Legoland NY!

It is absolutely amazing – *but be sure to pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, a sun umbrella, neck fans. spray bottle and lots of drinking water because there is no shade to be seen and it is hot! Even waiting online for the very popular Ninjago Ride was outside in the blazing sun for about 30 min. Needless to say we were all sunburned and very overheated (since I forgot to pack sunscreen).

Hopefully the long lines will calm down as they iron out their kinks but until they do definitely prepare!

For some pictures and video previews check my Instagram account at FamilyPixieDust429 and check back regularly on my YouTube Channel for a tour at Family Pixie Dust https://youtu.be/N_QAFau-jKw

https://www.youtube.com/user/vbraga429/videos

Disney Igloo Backpack – New Packing Item For Theme Parks

Trying Out a New Disney Igloo Backpack

This year I found a new bag to try – an insulated Disney Igloo “Leftover bag” backpack. It has a front compartment for smaller items which I like. I always wear a Disney Fanny-pack anyway, to my keep my phone and wallet for easy use. I like this bag because it is completely insulated – so I am figuring we will keep our waters and cooling towels in there, instead of a regular backpack. It even has pockets on both sides to hold 2 drinks! I am going to give it a try this coming weekend at Legoland NY!

I decided to add some Disney magic to it and I glued some Disney patches to it – with e6000 glue. E6000 glue seems to be the popular glue everyone is using but the fact that it says it causes cancer made me nervous. So I wore gloves and glued outside. **I took wax paper to place over them and I used full baby wipes to weigh them down while they dried.

  • e6000 glue
  • gloves
  • glue outside
  • put wax paper on top of patches
  • add weight
  • let dry overnight

Link for Disney Igloo from Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3hWqrGr

I do have a lot of Disney backpacks that I use for all trips – even road trips / hiking etc. The backpacks I purchased from Disney World back in 2017 have come in great use – they have several comparments for separating and organizing with outside pockets to hold your drinks. They have been quite sturdy.

I also have a Disney Loungefly as well as a cheaper small backpack purchased at Animal Kingdom – both are small and we cannot fit very much inside. But now that my kids are getting older we do not need to carry quite as much anymore.

What are your favorite bags to travel with??? I love to hear about bags that work well.

Here is my video on how I pack for a night out on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore!

Clothing Essentials for Summer Vacation Travel

Which Walt Disney World Resort I recommend for Summer 2021

Thinking of heading to Walt Disney World in the next few months? This is the hotel I recommend for Summer 2021.

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for anything that could happen or go wrong on your vacation; these are just my opinions after years and years of vacationing at Walt Disney World.

While we are still coming out of the pandemic and Disney World is still slowly opening up resorts, attractions and dining locations, I would suggest the best possible hotel to stay at currently would be (assuming you’re a party of no bigger than 4):

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

EVERYTHING IS CONDENSED INTO ONE BUILDING

Florida can be terribly hot and humid and there is nothing like getting off a Disney bus, all hot and sweaty from a super fantastic day at the parks and walking into ONE wonderfully airconditioned building providing not just your cool room, but gift shop, quick service and restaurants all inside. It is so super convenient to have all of this inside the same building for extra AC and to avoid the constant rain showers that Summer 2021 is bringing us! Not to mention the lobby is stunning and the rooms are gorgeous!

BOAT TO MAGIC KINGDOM

Having the easy 10 minute boat ride to and from Magic Kingdom really does make your vacation feel extra magical!

FIREWORKS VIEWS FROM SOME LOCATIONS AT THE RESORT

Summer 2019 was the first time we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and we were surprised with a beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom Castle as well as fireworks from our balcony! Now that the fireworks are back you are sure to enjoy!

WITH MANY DINING LOCATIONS CURRENTLY CLOSED, MORE DINING OPTIONS AVAILABLE

Whispering Canyon Café has been open which is a delicious table-service restaurant if you need a change from quick service. Wilderness Lodge also has Geyser Point Bar and Grill which is an outdoor, water-view restaurant which is another great option to have. You can’t go wrong at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

AS A DISNEY WORLD DELUXE HOTEL ACCOMODATION, THE RATES AREN’T AWFUL AND WORTH IT

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge falls into the deluxe hotel categories because of it’s many amenities and for being one of the Magic Kingdom Resorts, but it isn’t nearly priced as high as the Contemporary, Grand Floridian or especially right now the Polynesian – if you ask for a standard view room. It is one of more affordable deluxe accommodations with many comforting habituations. Also this deluxe resort offers a slide at the main pool and there is a splash pad for the younger kids which gives you a little more to do at the resort.

Planning a summer vacation? Where are you headed this summer?! I would love to hear your plans and thoughts!

Need assistance convincing a loved one to try Disney World?! CLICK HERE!

May the 4th Be With You!

Happy National Star Wars Day Everyone!

I know most of us, including myself & my family are wishing we could be in Disney World on this extraordinary day! Years passed have proven to be so magical spending this day at Hollywood Studios! What a magnificent day it was the weather in Florida during the beginning of May is usually gorgeous and has been known to be usually a more low-crowd time. Plus you get all the beauty of Flower & Garden show.

Here are some ways to celebrate May the Fourth while distracting yourself about what is going on in the outside world, while easily maintaining your safety as well as others’:

Disney Plus is now streaming a new documentary called the Gallery which will show behind the scenes in the making of the new hit series The Mandalorian now streaming on Disney Plus. You can catch the entire Star Wars Saga on Disney Plus as well! You can also find Clone Wars and Rebels on Disney Plus.

Sorcerer Radio – I just heard a string of some Disney Park Star Wars Music! Nothing like hearing park themed music to get you in a better mood. Download the app or listen from the website Sorcerer Radio and you may just hear some cool Star Wars Tunes!

Shop Disney now has some new “The Child” (aka Baby Yoda Merchandise) – shirts for everyone, “The Child” funkpop, character action figures, as well as other Star Wars type merchandise.

Lego Store has a promotion going on where if you spend $75 on select Lego sets or more they will give you a free Death Star 2 Battle set. ENDS TODAY!

Get out your own Star Wars Legos and build something NEW! Put those creative juices together and make something fun and do it OUTSIDE because its another gorgeous day in the North East! Soak up every ounce of the sun you can get! No better way to do it than playing with Star Wars Toys or Legos!

Take any Star Wars toys or Legos you have and go outside and set up your own planet.

My kids recently whipped out their OLD Lego Stars Games on the Wii.

You can purchase a download of Lego Stars Wars Force Awakens for $20 on XBOX made in 2016.

Click here for an important TRAVEL TIP for planning you next Disney World Vacation!

What are you doing to pass the time during the quarantine?

CHECK OUT OUR VLOG on the Rise of The Resistance Ride in Walt Disney World!

Disney World Travel Tip:

TIP OF THE DAY

When planning your next Disney World Vacation you will want to make sure that you check out the PARK HOURS for each day of your trip on the Disney World Website . Each day, the different parks may have extra magic hours and special events that MAY affect your visit. You can do this several months in advance, but definitely check again a few days before you leave for vacation and be open & flexible to any changes you may need to make!!!

Usually special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Merry Christmas Party will be posted inside the park hours. These events are extra ticketed events that cost addtional money to your vacation, and listed around 6 months in advance. If you do not have tickets to one of these parties, you might not want to attend Magic Kingdom during a day that they are offered since guests without tickets to the party because those guests will be asked to start leaving around 6pm and need to be out of the park by 7pm.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party runs from the middle of August through October and Mickey’s Merry Christmas Party runs from November through Christmas Day and both events are offered sometimes 2 or 3 nights a week – so be sure to check!!!

However, the website doesn’t always specifiy what type of event and may just say “Special Event” and close the park early. While we were vacationing in January I did not realize on the last night of our trip, we were supposed to be in Magic Kingdom, they closed the park early at 8pm for a “Special Event”. It could have been anything – maybe a Disney Villains After Hours?! Who knows – but its something good to keep in mind.

Make note!!!! Visiting Walt Disney World at different times of the year will also affect park hours. We noticed during our August Vacation that some night Magic Kingdom was staying open until midnight where in January it was closing around 9pm or 10pm! In January as beautiful as Christmas is, you are missing a lot of daylight.

Extra Magic Hours will also affect your visit. Last August, while we were in Magic Kingdom during night-time Extra Magic Hours, we found it frustrating that they did not allow you to make any Fast Passes at this time and we found the lines to be sort of long! So depending on how long your stay is, you might be able to avoid that and there might be times where you cannot.

It seems that Disney World is forever changing and now with the world’s pandemic who knows what changes are going to be made going forward?! We are just staying positive and optimistic while being safe.

There might be the case where the special events and parties will not be offered for a year or two.

I’ll be here following and listening to let you know as soon as I do!

Here’s to hoping and praying the world is healed soon.

When are you planning your next Walt Disney World Vacation?

Click here for my info on upgrading to WDW Annual Passes!

Disney Cruise Line Wishables – Limited Release

Unboxing Disney Wishables: Cruise Line & Food Series 2

On Easter Sunday I noticed that the Shop Disney Website had listed some of their Disney Cruise Line Wishables as a pick-me-up during our quarantine. I do not think normally Disney Cruise Line Wishables are available on the site, but do not quote me. This ended up being a super fun surprise!

Usually listed at around $10 per package, Disney Wishables are something my kids have enjoyed collecting since last April 2019. If you have an Annual Pass or are a DVC member, you would recieve a 20% discount off. You can use a Disney Gift Card towards any merchandise you may find inside the parks! The Disney Wishables are a more affordable “mystery type package” where you never know which character you are going to get! This type of Disney merchandise is something fun for kids to get inside the parks, and when you sit down for a break – you have a surprise!

Some other Disney Wishable series we have already collected are Splash Mountain, Park Series, Food Series 1, Pirate Series to name a few. We also have a Toy Soldier that we picked up around New Years Eve that we picked up not inside a package. We also have Magic Kingdom Castle that was also not inside a package. Watch below to see the kids talk about our collection!

We have a video here of the kids unboxing their New Shop Disney Cruise Line Wishables and Food Series 2 Wishables – please like and share!

Disney seems to have some series designed for the current season /current holiday of Wishables located throughout the parks – for instance while we were visiting for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party we noticed some Nightmare Before Christmas Wishables.

I also purchased myself a cute Mickey Tank – who couldn’t use a little pick-me-up right now?! I cannot wait to wear it when we return to the parks!

What are some ways you are “doing Disney” during the quarantine?

When is your next Disney World Vacation?

We Upgraded to Disney Annual Passholders! Discount Secrets Revealed….

This past August 2019, while we were vacationing in the World at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, for our second trip of the year, we were in a pretty good position and decided to upgrade to Annual Passes for all the perks!

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge August 2019

It was pretty easy to upgrade, while we were in Magic Kingdom on the first morning of our stay we simply went over to City Hall on Main Street. It was so easy and of course the cast members are always so helpful. As soon as you upgrade you are instantly able to recieve merchandise dicsount of 20% in just about all of Disney World’s Retail Locations. The discount varys on the dining locations depending where you eat, but we always get the Deluxe Dining Plan, so we weren’t worried about using our discount there. You can however, get the discount on any snack or type of food at your Disney World Resort Hotel that is Disney OWNED and almost all the locations (if not all) throughout the parks, so if you are buying a soda or snack or even a meal out of pocket you will get a discount!

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So if you are thinking about upgrading during your stay, I do not recommend waiting until the end of your trip because it actually will be activated on the first day of your trip and why miss out on that merchandise discount?!

The next best perk about being an Annual Passholder was the amazing discount that popped up when we were looking to go and arrive on New Year’s Eve and stay for a week. We got a huge discount at the Grand Floridian – it was bigger than what was being offered at Polynesian and Contemporary – and almost all of the resorts were booked up as well. We couldn’t pass up how much cheaper it was to stay at the Grand Floridian than at Polynesian which was our first hotel choice.

I wanted to make sure we arrived before New Year’s Eve so we wouldn’t miss the last Christmas Parade in Magic Kingdom which is on December 31.

So we flew down Monday night, December 30 after my husband worked half a day. We checked in for 2 nights at a Lagoon View and then checked out and checked into the discounted room from Wednesday January 1 and checked out Tuesday January 7. We definitely saved a few thousand dollars. So when booking with an annual pass discount definitely check on the different dates around your time of travel as well as what the different hotels are offering – hopefully you can be flexible!

We had family meet us one night in Disney Springs during our January trip for dinner, and we were even able to apply our APD to our family member’s dinner bill, which was fantastic. *Note, this might not always be the case but you never know where the Disney Magic may arise!* (They were able to park at our hotel and spend some time with us at the resort before we took the bus to Disney Springs – just let the hotel know in advance they are coming. Your company will need to povide some ID and they need your room number.)

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A Disney World Annual Pass also gives you discounts at various hotel spas and salons as well as some entertainment inside of Disney World such as AMC, fishing, the Amphicar Tour at Disney Springs, Miniature Golf, Marina Boat Rentals, Bowling, Horse & Carriage Rides at the Resorts andmore. You can also receive a discount on some of the tours provided inside the parks! There is also a discount for purchasing Tables in Wonderland. I believe that provide a discount when you renew your AP around the time it expires (they might give you a 2 week window after).

Being a Disney World Annual Passholder also gives you a discount on most extra ticketed events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Do your research.

Let’s not forget about Memory Maker! The Memory Maker is included in your Annual Pass purchase. *Even if only 1 member of your family purchases the Annual Pass, you still recieve all the benefits! Memory Maker includes all the photopass photos provided by Disney and the professional photographer photos (located throughout the parks,) those photos are added into your My Disney Experience App. You have access to all your Memory Maker Photos until your Annual Pass expires so you have time to download and store them. So unlike how each time you book a vacation you have to pay an extra fee to purchase Memory Maker, and Annual Pass includes it for every single visit.

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We were hoping to go this July or August but sadly with the current world crisis, we aren’t sure if it will be safe enough to travel with our children and my diabetic husband. So if you were considering a Walt Disney World Annual Passes it might be a great time to save for 2021. I always believe good things are ahead! I hope you’re staying safe and healthy at this time!

When is your next Disney World Vacation?

If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Check out last year’s Easter Vacation at Port Orleans by click here!

Check out our Disney World’s Art of Animation Discussion with the Kids here:

Art of Animation – Resort Tour Video

Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation🌟

Click on the video below for a fun tour of Art of Animation from our 2016 Trip!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfBRKTIy9Vc&t=186s

 

Check out my full review of Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort by clicking HERE! 

Talking Mickey at Magic Kingdom: Rumors Talking Mickey will be discontinued.

If you are heading to Walt Disney World within the next month or two make sure you get in a visit with Talking Mickey before his voice is discontinued!

With the rumors that Magic Kingdom will be retiring the “Talking Mickey” that you can meet and greet inside of Town Square Theater, we are so sad!  Being able to talk to Mickey and have him answer was such a fun experience! We are so saddened to hear this news but so happy to have had the experience!

If you click below, here is a video of our experience with meeting Talking Mickey Mouse from our August 2016 trip!

Turn the volume up!

https://instagram.com/p/BJTyv81jZ5t/

MK_TSTHEATERCCHAR_20160818_7776504017

Town Square Theater is located directly next door to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – there is actually an entrance way attached. 

Talking Mickey will end soon: Picture 2013 Tony's Town Square Restaurant
Talking Mickey will end soon: Picture 2013 Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

Talking Mickey will end soon: Picture 2013 Tony's Town Square Restaurant
Talking Mickey will end soon: Picture 2013 Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

Just for the sole purpose of all these amazing character meet and greets you definitely want to have purchased Memory Maker for easy amazing photos.  Click HERE to read about Memory Maker!

If you are considering dining reservations but need some help – click HERE for an easy guide on How To Do Disney Dining! 

Need some tips on SAVING $$ Money $$ for your next Disney World vacation in addition to asking for DISNEY GIFT cards for all upcoming special occasions? – click HERE!

For some amazing pictures of the ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE and my full review – click HERE!

When is your next Disney World Vacation?

 

Animal Kingdom Lodge Pool and Slide

Check out our video of the Animal Kingdom Lodge Slide and Pool!

As we sit here freezing with this ultra cold blast traveling up the East Coast, lets enjoy some pics and videos from summer!

 

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Pool Slide

Please bare with me as we learn to create and edit Videos!

Looking for a review of the Animal Kingdom Lodge? Click here!

Need some tricks for saving for a Walt Disney World Vacation? Click Here!

When is your next Walt Disney World Vacation?

The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

Traveling to Someplace Warm – like Disney World??

Here are my top travel essentials for when traveling to where it’s hot – like Disney World!

1) Teva Sandals

My number one item when I am traveling anywhere warm are my wonderful Teva Sandals.  Not only are they waterproof and dry within minutes, but they are hiking sandals with shock absorption!!!! When I wear my wonderful Teva Sandals, my back can never feel better no matter how long I’m standing in line or how much walking I am doing and I suffer with degenerative disc disease.  Let me say that they are much more comfortable and supportive than sneakers – even when they aren’t broken in yet!

2) Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel

I use this where the backpack that I carry all day, lays on my arms – so when wearing tank tops, the backpack doesn’t rub and hurt my arms!  I also use this when I am wearing short shorts where my thighs touch. (I was never a skinny person, so after having children I am more on the heavier side)  This way I don’t have to worry about my thighs chafing each other.  I have also used it where I had brought a super old, worn out pair of Teva’s on a super HOT vacation to Hershey park, and there was something that was rubbing my foot, and it instantly stopped any blister from being formed.  You can literally use this stuff on anything that may cause discomfort!  It’s clear and has no smell, so you don’t even notice you have it on.  I even put it on my son’s neck to stop any irritation from a tag.

3) Easy Hair Extensions 

Now, when we pay extra money for that fantastic memory maker we want to make sure we look fabulous in every professional shot taken.  I finally came to the realization that as I age, my hair is only getting thinner and it just doesn’t look as nice as it used to. Hair can really make or break how you feel about yourself in a picture.   I found a few types of extensions that I brought to Disney and it worked rather well.  When going in such extreme heat, it works even better putting my hair up.  The first hair extension that I have brought is a clip on – the claw simply clips onto your ponytail – so easy!  It gave me long luxurious curls and went totally unnoticeable. (Notice my Teva Sandals in the pictures below.)

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

This year’s Disney trip 2017 I ordered these clip-in 20″, curly Synthetic 7 piece hair extensions.  These are awesome because they come so curly, but the curl does stick strong, even after washing.  The only problem I found was in the heat of August, they felt so unbelievably heavy in my hair…. compared to the claw clip-in from the pictures above, where it did feel slightly heavy (not going to lie) but these were definitely heavier.

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
Disney Dining: Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

I also bought this newer product called Secret Extensions – Hair Extensions by Daisy Fuentes and it is a great product to add a little bit of volume to your hair.  However it is not good for putting back when you are hot and sweaty. You basically have to leave it down.WDWRESORTSANDMORE_PARKFARECHAR1_20170812_404139739055

4) Dove Deordorant

Next on the list is Dove Deodorant  When you are in Disney World in long lines and perspiring, you really want good protection.  I also like to use Dove Deodorant as another chafing & prevention. I usually roll it all over my back to prevent excessive sweating, as well as on my inner thighs before I apply the Monistat Chafing Relief Gel, and on the back of the upper parts of my thighs where I sit and shorts rub the thighs – especially when I’m wearing short shorts. I roll it on the sides of my stomach, and the front of my stomach and under where my bra sits – this way it prevents a lot of extra sweating and I don’t have to worry about any foul smells. Sometimes I purchase a separate Dove Deodorant to use on my feet.

5) Makeup – this is for the gals that love and enjoy makeup.  (If you don’t, then don’t bother wasting your time reading this tip!)

Now we are getting to my most favorite part of this article and it’s makeup!  When you have to worry about excessive sweating, you don’t want to worry about your makeup running with the sweat.  I like to use a foundation that is NOT going anywhere and that would be MAC Prolongwear Foundation Revlon makes a great color stay foundation that is comparable and cheaper.  

Then after I apply the foundation and let it sit for a few minutes I like to use a setting powder called Dermablend Loose Setting Powder and this way I know it’s not going anywhere.

Next for eyes I use a concealer by Este Lauder called Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Brightening Serum and Concealer – and once I apply that I usually pat some more Dermablend over my eyelids.

Following, I like to dab some Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation over the rest of my face before applying some blush or bronzer.  I always use both a non-waterproof mascara mixed with a waterproof mascara and my recent favorite mascara to use ever is Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara and you MUST use the waterproof over all, as your last few swipes to ensure that its not coming off – you never know when you will get a splash going down the big hill on Splash Mountain or maybe you try the Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom?!! Freshly, I have found this amazingly easy lash-extender called Divaderm Lash Extender in a bottle – you simply brush it on in between coats of mascara! I personally LOVE the look of false eyelashes but who has time or wants to sit and play with them?!  This is just an easy way of getting thick gorgeous lashes. Make sure you start out with a coat or two, and then after you apply finish up with a few coats of waterproof.

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

After my lashes dry, I use a color stay liquid eyeliner on the lids of my eyes – Mac has a great one called Mac Liquid Last – I have been on water slides and have had buckets of water dumped on my head and this did NOT run one bit LOL!!!  Revlon has a great Color Stay liner .  I usually like to choose brown when it comes to eyeliners.

6) Wet Brush

What a great discovery! The Wet Brush – good for any hair type to detangle hair after the shower. The Wet Brush makes combing through knots so much quicker when trying to leave the hotel to head to the parks.  With all the wear and tear on my poor hair, it sometimes really needs help with those pesky knots.

7) Redkin Diamond Oil Shampoo & Conditioner

My favorite shampoo and conditioner to bring on vacation for when you just want perfectly shiny hair is Redkin Diamond Oil Shampoo and Conditioner.  It really creates a tremendous vivid glow that also helps out with matching your hair to those extensions!  🙂  Love the smell of this shampoo and conditioner too.  I usually like to put Redkin All Soft Conditioner on top of the Diamond Oil Conditioner and let it sit for a few minutes for deep conditioning, while I soap the rest of myself. My favorite PRODUCT for my hair currently is Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine which is very comparable to Paul Mitchell Super Skinny.      I also really love Thick and Full Biotin and Collagen Weightless Healing Oil Treatment that I use along with the Sleek and Shine. 

8) Face Wash

This Diz Lover’s desired way to clean my face at night is with simple organic coconut oil this way my face is never dried out.  I simply apply coconut oil and take a wet warm cloth and scrub.  When I feel like I need a deeper clean, I turn to Ponds Cold Cream.

9) Moisturizer

When I use a moisturizer and especially in the summer, I always make sure it contains an SPF.  My favorite at the moment is Oil of Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream with Sunscreen. 

10) Lightweight Backpack

Wow!  You have not felt a lightweight backpack until you have felt this!  Super light backpack on your back.  It only made it through 1 short beach vacation, 1 short Hershey Park Vacation and then a 11 day Disney Vacation before it went in the garbage.  I believe it would have lasted longer had I not been carrying around my children’s IPads in my pack. It’s called a Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack.  Its probably the best $15 I have ever spent on a backpack!

11) Neck Fan

One thing we discovered this past 2017 Disney Vacation was that the kids, and my husband and I enjoyed Mini Neck Fans, much more than carrying around the big spray fans that you can purchase inside the parks.  I originally purchased my mini neck fan in the travel section of Harmon Cosmetics but the highlighted link is to one on Amazon.com . They don’t take up much space at all – unlike the big spray fans.  We also enjoyed mini cooling neck towels as opposed to the normal sized cooling towels.  The less you have to lug around – the happier everyone is!  Besides, I have learned you can walk up to any quick service station and ask for 2 cups of ice, or ice water when you’re hot!

12) Alarm Clock / Nightlight

I always use my IPhone as an Alarm Clock, but if you need, don’t forget to pack one!  When we fly to Disney and luggage is limited, I usually pack a few small flashlights that I use as nightlights.  They seem to do the trick.  When we drive I can snag some of my kids battery operated candles that we use as nightlights for them.

13) Meds

Lastly, I ALWAYS make sure to pack all sorts of medicines!  The last thing you want to do is become ill while at Disney World!  Always, always, always make sure you have your allergy meds as well as Benedryl!  You never know what sort of itchy bite you may get, or what allergic reaction you could possibly have (even though we hope that never happens).

In my backpack that I always carry inside parks (or wherever we are vacationing)  contains:

*Itch creams for bug bites – Cortisone / Benedryl / Desitin / Aquaphor

*Motrin / Tylenol

*First aid like band aides and neosporin

*Sanitizing Wipes / Sanitizer

*Drinks / Snacks

*MiniFan

*Cooling Towel

*Baby Wipes

*Sweatshirts – sometimes you freeze when walking into air conditioning after sweating all day and sometimes it cools off at night – you just never know!

*Lolipops (not just for children but I have a diabetic husband so we have to keep Gluclose Tablets as well)

*Phone Charger – I have had an My Charge from Amazon.com for 5 years now and it still works! Here is the latest version on Amazon.com.  I paid $60 back then and incredibly it STILL works great! My only complaint is that its a little heavy but its usable! 

We usually start taking extra-strength Probiotics a week to 2 weeks prior to ANY vacation and then make sure we bring extra-strength Probiotics during our vacation. The brand we use is Culturelle Extra Strength Digestive Health.

For EVERY vacation I also make sure we have a lot of WetOnes antibacterial hand wipes on hand, as well as hand sanitizer.  I try to sanitize after each ride and wash hands as soon as we enter a restaurant.  I also like to use Essential Oils as an immune booster while there too – like Theives and Frankincense by Young Living.  Peppermint can help any congestion or motion sickness, and can be used as an anti-viral as well.

Also, don’t forget to pack your typical Motrin / Tylenol – and remember meds for any sort of stomach upset, like Tums, Pepto etc.  We use children’s Dramamine as we travel to and from our destination.

I like to bring a lot of baby wipes to clean up throughout the day as well.

Lollipops can be a great way to pass the time while waiting on lines for rides!  We also love to play Disney Trivia with each other (if you run out of ideas there is an app for that which is easy to use on your phone).

I shouldn’t have to mention this one but….. Sunscreen!  Pack your sunscreen and sunglasses.  Who wants to get stuck without those essentials?

When is your next Disney World Vacation?

Check out my article on Saving Space in your Luggage: Shipping Yourself Items to your Disney World Resort prior to check in!

Review of Star Wars Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Hollywood Studios August 2017

Source: Review of Star Wars Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Hollywood Studios August 2017